Strategic Planning Behind Dr Pepper’s Larry Culpepper Campaign

In 2014, Dr Pepper debuted a new brand figure named Larry Culpepper. They recently brought back a revamped Larry Culpepper for the 2016 college football season. He’s a goofy college football fanatic that claims he invented the college football playoffs. Dr Pepper’s Larry Culpepper campaign was likely developed to bring attention to their recent sponsorship of the College Football playoffs. The campaign stretches across a multitude of outlets including traditional TV and radio ads, social media and even a microsite.

Some background information that must have went into the Dr Pepper campaign was an analysis of their competitors. Dr Pepper has two major competitors: Coke and Pepsi. In looking at both Coke and Pepsi’s social media pages, both brands have a strong focus on sports partnerships. Up until recently, Dr Pepper didn’t have a clear online presence, which is a big problem in 2016. Their posting schedule was scattered, a lot of content was sent out with little fan interaction and many posts were generic product photos. With Coke and Pepsi outperforming them year after year, they needed to find a way to improve their presence on social media. I can imagine that after analyzing their competitor’s online repertoire and seeing the large focus on sports, they figured “If we can’t beat em’, join em!”

Some other information that may have been taken into consideration are brands’ successful use of brand mascots. Some examples include the Geico Gecko and Progressive’s Flo. For many people, these mascots are now synonymous with the brands they represent. In 1992, the Energizer battery brand attributed a 7% increase in revenue simply to their brand mascot, the Energizer bunny. This would present Dr Pepper with a way to increase brand recognition and possibly revenue.

After conducting a social media audit, Dr Pepper must have seen that they had room to improve their social media communication program. To develop a campaign, they likely referenced what other brands were doing to increase online presence and brand recognition. They took sports references from industry competitors and successful mascot branding from countless outside brands and combined them into the Larry Culpepper campaign.

Before rolling out the Larry Culpepper campaign, Dr Pepper must have conducted research. The campaign wasn’t only a social media campaign but also included a number of commercial spots on popular sports channels, such as ESPN. Commercials are pricey, so a lot of research must have gone into the development of the campaign.

Dr Pepper must have conducted research on the best outlets for reaching sports fans, since their mascots is a sports fanatic. The Culpepper campaign has touched many outlets, including radio, television, Facebook and Snapchat. One outlet almost completely devoid of the Culpepper campaign is the Dr Pepper Instagram. Dr Pepper must have found that their target audience wasn’t present on Instagram, and decided to save time and money by ignoring the platform.

Another area of research Dr Pepper likely conducted was on their actual audience. Their mascot is a college football fanatic, which coincides with their sponsorship of the college football playoffs. But, why is he a humorous character? Did they conduct research on college football fans and find that their personalities were more susceptible to humorous advertising? Or, perhaps by making their mascot humorous, they were trying to broaden the mascots reach. While Culpepper is a college football fanatic, someone who’s not into sports could still find his antics humorous. Since many mascots become synonymous with the brands they represent, a lot of research must have gone into the development of Larry Culpepper to ensure the audience would like him.

After the campaign, Dr Pepper will be able to conduct more research to determine if their campaign was successful. They can use this to improve the campaign for next year, if they decide to renew it.

In summary, Dr Pepper noticed some problems: Their social media presence was weak, and they needed people to know about their sponsorship of the college football playoffs. They knew that fellow soda brands were using sports to engage fans in the online space. They also saw that so many brands have had success with brand mascots. After conducting a social media audit, a brand mascot based around college football seemed like a viable solution. Before rolling out their campaign, they researched their audience and possible platforms to develop their character and the 2016 campaign plan. At the end of the football season, they can conduct a new social media audit to decide if the campaign was helpful in improving their online presence.

Sources:

Dr Pepper Twitter

Dr Pepper Instagram

Dr Pepper Facebook

Coca Cola Twitter

Pepsi Twitter

Reference For Business

 

 

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